“Caribbean T-20 2012 – Exciting cricket, but has it been really good cricket?”

January 22, 2012 | By | Filed Under Sports 

 

Colin E. H. Croft

 

Like most Caribbean sporting people, I too have enjoyed the excitement of Caribbean T-20 2012.  Now

Colin Croft

that we have reached the final stages, perhaps this is the correct time to do general assessments.  As my 50-overs captains said, semi-finals and final are singular events.  Forget the past games; play the finals!
Most preliminary games in CT-20 2012, where consistency was required over several games, were relatively close, with most of the teams seeming to be on par, especially the home, Caribbean’s, teams.
However, overall, was the cricket really all that good, compared to what usually transpires elsewhere in the cricket world, or were our teams just similar?
I am not sure, but, at least, the supporters had a great time.  Remember, T-20 cricket is almost always about the entertainment value.  Good show, WICB!
A closer look at the preliminary games does not give a rosy overview.  In twenty games; forty 20-over innings; only one team, Trinidad & Tobago, made more than 160; against Leeward Islands.  T&T made 211-3, when everything really clicked, but only after they had had their tails kicked in their first game!
That score was an anomaly, a very rare exception, but ‘Par score’ for 20–over games; 120 legal deliveries; cannot be 120, as suggested by some commentators and even some captains.
The former set seems so bent on pleasing masses that they even undermine their own game understanding itself!
A ‘par score’ of 120 would mean, simply, six runs per over, or one run per legal delivery.  Good batsmen, even average ones, should not even break sweat to achieve such average returns.
Eight to ten runs per over should be more normal for T-20 games, especially batting first, with regular boundaries thrown in.
Some might suggest that, at least for once, bowlers had advantages in the preliminary rounds.  They probably did, but not because the pitches helped them.
The pitches used in this year’s competition were as good tests as any real batsman should want to have. Generally, the batting was quite poor!
The pitch at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium was on the slower side, with variable to low bounce.  Any batsman, though, who was both adventurous and confident, could have gotten many runs there!
Kensington Oval was always going to be bouncier and quicker.  That certainly called for batsmen, if they were good enough, to adjust quicker, but also to score more easily, if they had basic footwork and skills!
In modern-day cricket, many Test innings are scored at four runs per over, sometimes even more, especially in Test innings featuring South Africa, Pakistan and especially Australia.  Therefore, with standard application, T-20’s scoring rates should be at least double; eight runs per over!
If that transpires, par score for T-20’s 1st innings could easily be 150 to 170.  200 would be regularly possible, with some successful slogging.
I think that the batting quality of Caribbean T-20 2012 was so dangerously poor that it could actually fool selectors and supporters to expect what is not probable.
CT-20 2012 – 20 preliminary games – included only five 1st innings totals of 150 or more.  They all won!  The tournament’s average 1st innings score was 127, in 120 legal deliveries, and that only became possible because of Trinidad & Tobago’s astronomical, isolated 211-3; quite poor batting overall!
Comparatively, in “BBL” – Australia’s Big Bash League – twenty 1st innings scores – 28 preliminary games – exceeded 150. Unbelievably, five of those teams batting first, making more than 150, also lost too!
Having generally acknowledged that Australia’s cricket is presently superior to West Indies’, one must deduce that it would be difficult, if not decidedly impossible, for West Indies to beat them right now!
That theory certainly will be tested in March and April next, when Australia tours West Indies.  More pertinently, though, would be ICC World T-20 Championship; Sri Lanka; come September and October, later this year.  At least, West Indies does have some time to actually re-tool its players’ efforts by then!
Anyway, while Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica were expected to qualify for “Final Four,” there was at least one surprise team, Windward Islands, there too, winning all its preliminary games!
It has been extremely pleasant to note the re-emergence of Windward Islands, always thought to be a better one-day team than one for four-day games.  Windward Islands peaked at the right time!
Giving credit where it is due, they have been ably and admirably led by present overall West Indies captain, Darren Sammy.  When the selectors meet to pick that team for ICC World T-20 2012; Sri Lanka; there should look no further than Sammy for that team’s captaincy.  He has really done magnificently!
If Sammy does also retain West Indies captaincy for Tests and ODI’s would depend very much on his performances in 2012’s 4-day tournament, which starts immediately after CT-20 2012 ends.  Picking West Indies team based on Caribbean T-20 2012 is not easy at all, even though some select themselves.
Very sensibly, Sammy last week turned down, probably receiving sound advice, a very good opportunity to play in Bangladesh, but one that could have hampered his progress this year.
He is correct to note that Windward Islands, and especially he himself, need good performances in the 4-day competition.
Barbados emulated Windward Islands, winning all preliminary games.  They certainly came out to play this year.  Most impressive players for “Broken Trident” were fast bowler Tino Best, and batsman Dwayne Smith.  I would be surprised if both were not selected, based on this tournament, for West Indies v Australia, at least, for T-20’s.  That could even be re-starts for West Indies in ICC WT-20 2012.
Jamaica was also quite good overall.  Impressing have been left-hand medium fast bowler Krishmar Santokie, Marlon Samuels, Nikrumah Bonner and newcomer Kennar Lewis.  All four will probably feature for West Indies T-20 teams this year, against Australia, England, New Zealand or even ICC WT-20 2012.
Trinidad & Tobago’s Samuel Badree must be selected for West Indies against Australia.  It is a massive mystery that he has never played for senior West Indies up to now.
With New Zealand also touring after West Indies tours England, he has probably six games to impress internationally, before ICC WT-20 2012.
Denesh Ramdin, Keiron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Ravi Rampaul and Sunil Narine also looked good for T&T, while Darren Bravo was much too sporadic, not as focused as he should probably have been overall.
Of players whose teams that did not make “Final Four,” few distinguished.  Guyana’s Davendra Bishoo looked worn.  Specifically, he will have to work really hard to retain his place in West Indies T-20 team.
Also, I think it would serve West Indies cricket much more meaningfully if a West Indies “B” team was selected, and entered, in our competitions, than to invite Canada again.
Somehow, Canada’s cricket team always gives the distinct impression that they are on holiday, just enjoying the fleeting limelight.
With CCC and regular regional teams, a West Indies “B” team would expose eleven additional players for our future teams.  West Indies cricket itself certainly needs all of the help, and players, it can muster!
Meanwhile, whatever happens, enjoy the final today, Sunday!  Cheers!

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